Transport and communications in industrial mobility: The UK experience with particular reference to Scotland and Northern Ireland

Logan, R. Ian (1972) Transport and communications in industrial mobility: The UK experience with particular reference to Scotland and Northern Ireland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Induced interregional industrial mobility has been at the heart of UK regional policy almost from the beginning. A fundamental difference of opinion has emerged recently over the extent to which mobility is affected by transport and communications considerations and, a cognate point, the proper role of infrastructure in regional policy. According to one line of reasoning, distance costs for most types of industry have largely lost whatever locational significance they may once have had, infrastructural expenditure in regional policy. According to one line of reasoning, distance costs for most types of industry have largely lost whatever locational significance they may once have had, infrastructural expenditure is essentially permissive rather than stimulatory, and historical deficiencies in the peripheral areas' stock of transport capital have, with possibly a few more or less trifling exceptions, been eliminated. Others hold that migrant-generators attach a great deal of significance to the adequacy of the transport and communications facilities in potential destination areas, a state of affairs insufficiently recognised heretofore by regional policymakers with the result that transport and communications infrastructure in the official 'areas for expansion' has been in chronically short supply. Not only is the issue sketched here highly topical, it has strong political overtones. Its exploration is the purpose of this study. Three hypotheses, bases upon commonsense and previous work in the field, are set forth in order to focus the research effort. It is postulated first that good transport and communication systems are essential to the success of most interregional industrial movements, secondly that private distance costs are not an important constraint on interregional industrial mobility for most types of manufacturing industry, and thirdly that the quality of intra-firm communications and organisational flexibility can often be more critical to the long-term viability of industrial migrants than distance costs. In essence, the study comprises an appraisal of relevant economic theory, a detailed look at the evolution of regional policy in Great Britain and Northern Ireland focussing on the role assigned to transport and communications, a selective evaluation of previous UK research on industrial mobility, an original analysis of industrial survey questionnaires sent out in 1960 under the auspices of the Toothill Committee, an examination of postwar industrial migrant flows to Scotland and NI, extensive analyses of the transport and communications cost data from the 1963 Censes of Production distinguishing between the UK as a whole and its Scottish and NI members, and six case studies of postwar industrial migration to Scotland. That private transport costs have been much more of a constraint on postwar interregional industrial mobility than generally realized is the most important single conclusion to emerge from the study. In contrast to this unexpected verdict, ample support is presented for the other two hypotheses suggesting that potential migrant-generators may exaggerate the adverse transport cost implications of a peripheral location while underestimating the significance of non-cost communications considerations. It is also concluded that existing theory is of remarkably little value in pragmatic terms, that transport and communications were virtually ignored by regional policymakers between 1934 when policy began and 1963, that the emphasis upon improved infrastructure by successive governments both nationally and in NI since about 1963 has not been misplaced, that the integration of regional with transport and communications policies has not yet gone as far as it should, that scope remains for further expenditure on transport and communications in pursuance of regional objectives, and that more research is needed on a host of germane topics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Gordon C Cameron
Keywords: Labor relations
Date of Award: 1972
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1972-72884
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72884

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